Suryanamaskar, along with couple of other asana, is most recognised asana sequence of yoga. And this for good reason in itself. This post is going to explore why it so?
Suryanamaskar is not one asana, but a sequence of 12 postures, with one merging into other till end. A simple infographic is given below, with all due credit to original uploader.
So what separates suryanamaskar from all other asana in yoga practice? First, in normal pace practice we don’t hold any posture for more than one breath (slow and deep breathing is recommended), and then you move to next posture. So in normal pace, there is no holding in suryanamaskar as is usual in asana practice. Second, where in asana practice, you have to be aware about your breathing while holding asana, to deepen your practice, in suryanamaskar, due to the way body moves through postures, your breathing is more or less automatically synchronised with expansion and contraction of chest and abdomen. Thus, body movement leads to deepening of breath in suryanamaskar.
On purely anatomical level of understanding about this sequence, it is designed to move each major muscle group in your body, to stretch them and along with that to take a deep breath. Sequentially when each muscle group, like legs, back, chest, shoulders are stretched and then contracted, along with rhythm of breath, supply of oxygenated blood to deeper parts of body happen. All this leads to better stretch in subsequent rounds of suryanamskar. Thus by the time, recommended 3,6,9 and more rounds of suryanamaskar are done, you feel better, fresh, and energised. All the bending forward and arching back, makes our inhalations deeper and exhalations complete.
Thus, if and when, we don’t have time enough for full practice of yoga class, we can practice few rounds of suryanamaskar. This will give our body a good stretch, better energy and add something close to a full practice in our quest to stay healthy.
Originally published at www.yogiwithcoffee.com on January 3, 2016.